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For whom would John Lennon vote?

A respondent to my recent post on John Lennon wondered how the former Beatle, if alive today, would weigh in on the current US presidential campaign—a momentous campaign, I might add, but vacuously covered (as usual) by an imagination-challenged electronic media.

After all, Lennon finally gained US residency a few years before his death in 1980. (The fact that Lennon was able to accomplish that was an amazing story in its own right, given the comical attempts years earlier by the Nixon administration, FBI, CIA, and INS to get him deported because of the apparently grave threat he posed to US security.)

Now in April, 2008—with the US involved in a protracted war in the Mid-east and the economy in its most worrisome shape in decades—we're approaching an election that citizens seem to care about.

Three "electable" candidates are left standing. (There are scores of candidates still running, but only three are currently conducting national campaigns.)

So whom would John Lennon support?

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John Lennon & the establishmentarians.

After ruminating on the Rumi nature of John Lennon's lyric in "Across the Universe" (as mentioned in a previous post), I began to ponder the paradox of John Lennon himself and his seemingly conflicting views on religion.

After all, three years after Lennon reverentially sang "jai guru deva om" ("thanks to God divine") he wistfully sang: "Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, no religion too."

But on second glance there's no contradiction. Lennon simply did not equate religion with spirituality and could explore the latter without the baggage of the former. Or perhaps more specifically, without the baggage of religious authority. (In fact, shortly after writing "Across the Universe" he wrote "Sexy Sadie" which brilliantly—if harshly—lampooned the Beatles' one-time mentor, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.)

I think this also says something about the nature of musicians. As I will explore in a forthcoming book, rock & rollers in particular seem to have a healthy disregard for authority in general. (This is a trait that modern business teams would do well to emulate in a disruptive global economy—as I will elaborate on in a future post.)

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A brand launch across the universe.

More breaking news from the Beatles. You always hear that the Beatles brand has universal appeal. Why not market test it? That's exactly what will happen at 7pm EST tonight. NASA is beaming the Beatles song "Across the Universe," well, across the universe.

It's the first song to be sent into outer space, coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the Beatles recording of the tune, which appeared on their Let It Be soundtrack. (This year is also the fiftieth anniversary of NASA.)

"Across the Universe"—considered by critics (and by John Lennon) as one of his best compositions—will be aimed towards the North Star, Polaris, 2.5 quadrillion miles away, where nearby residents can hear it in 431 years. If they like it we'll get quick feedback 431 years later.

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Oh, ho-ho, it's magic.

I'm still amazed by this Internet thing. Maybe because I'm not a techno-geek. (A geek, yes, because anyone who majored in ancient Greek is not normal. But I can be flummoxed by trying to open a can of beans.)

So this web deal verges on the supernatural to me. I'm astounded at how easy it is to contact anyone anywhere these days.

Thanks to the magical wonders of email, I recently reconnected with Fox News' Alan Colmes. (For blog readers outside the US, Alan is the liberal half of the enormously successful prime-time television debate show Hannity & Colmes in which Alan pairs-up with conservative Sean Hannity for nightly sparring.)

My quick email exchange with Alan released long-suppressed memories of my appearances years ago on his WPIX-FM radio show in New York—when, while a rock & roll musician I ran (clearly in response to some undiagnosed psychiatric disorder) as an independent candidate for US President.

Here's an example of our scintillating dialogue from a 1980 interview:

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Interview with a Beatle.

This summer I found some time to sit down with Pete Best, the original "Fab Four" drummer, when the Pete Best Band was passing through Massachusetts.

I had met Pete several times before—including one occasion in Liverpool in 2002 when sobbing Beatles' fans were trying to get his autograph (I'm not kidding). But this was the first occasion for me to ask him questions that had been tattooing my brain for a quarter century.

Pete, one of the nicest and most gracious fellows I've ever met in the music biz, patiently answered my queries, as he's been doing with others for forty-five years.

Here's an edited version of our conversation…

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